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Presenting Policy: Proactive Ethics

Featured Policies

The University Compliance Office (UCO) is featuring compliance related policies starting September 2020 in order to assist faculty, staff, and students to better navigate and understand the many policies and procedures of Villanova University. Each fiscal year we will explain how the chosen policy connects to our daily activities and sets expectations for individual members of our University community.

All members of the University community have a responsibility to review and understand the policies and procedures that may impact them. Many of these policies are located within the Villanova Policy Library (VPL) which can be accessed through MyNova. Taking the time to learn more about Villanova’s policies helps to strengthen our unwavering commitment to integrity, academic, and workplace excellence. Below is a convenient drop-down menu to access the featured policies.

 

Academic Year 2020-2021:

Why?

Throughout the year Villanova University hosts minors (under the age of 18) in a variety of youth programs and activities such as, pre-collegiate programs, service-learning opportunities, STEM education, athletic camps and clinics, Student Involvement and Mission and Ministry dedicated activities.  Villanova values the welfare and protection of minors and has policies and processes in place to ensure the safety of youth participating in our programs and activities.

Protecting children is the responsibility of all of us. In that April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention month, we take this opportunity to remind our faculty, staff, and students about their obligations as mandated reporters. Within our community the following members are considered mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse:

  • faculty and staff who come into direct contact with minors as part of your employment
  • students and volunteers of Villanova University who accept responsibility for a child as an integral part of a program, activity or service sponsored by Villanova
  • Clergy, Priests and other spiritual leaders of a regularly established church or other religious organization
  • Independent contractors who provide services to the University relating to the care, supervision, guidance, or control of a child and who have direct contact with a child in such role, also have a duty to report suspected child abuse.

In general, reportable child abuse encompasses intentional or reckless actions or omissions that cause, or are reasonably likely to cause:  bodily injury, death, or serious mental injuries to a child; sexual abuse/sexual exploitation of a child; or serious physical neglect of a child. 

Reports are made either electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling Childline at 1-800-932-0313. 

When in doubt, it is always best to report. As Program Directors and Faculty Advisors to our Villanova students, faculty members and staff may be asked by our students for guidance regarding the specifics on how to report.  Please do not feel you are alone in answering these questions.  There are offices that can assist you including the University Compliance Office, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and the Department of Public Safety.

Resources and Related Policies

Policy

Villanova’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy is designed to educate Villanova University community members regarding the requirements under Pennsylvania law for reporting suspected cases of child abuse. This Policy explains under what circumstances suspected child abuse must be reported and the process for reporting.

Any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse may not be subjected to discharge from employment or employment discrimination or retaliation on the basis of such report.

Failure by any member of the Villanova community to report information related to suspected child abuse in accordance with this Policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination for employees and dismissal for students. Pennsylvania law also imposes criminal penalties for a willful failure to comply with these state-mandated reporting requirements.

A Message from the University Compliance Office:

“Child abuse is a betrayal of trust and abuse of power that causes pain and suffering to children, their families, and erodes our communities.  All members of our University community have a responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of minors who visit our campus or participate in our events. Under Pennsylvania law, our personal obligation to act and report child abuse cannot be delegated to a third person.“

Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer

Why?

The United States has enacted export control laws to regulate the transfer of certain information, items, or technologies to foreign countries and/or individuals in the interest of national security and trade protection.

In practice, these rules have a direct impact on what research instruments, materials, software and technology that we, as a U.S. University, can export (i.e. transfer) out of the country by any means; and in rare cases, what sensitive items and technology we can share with foreign national individuals (visa holders) working in and/or visiting our research facilities.

The University’s main policy for Export Controls compliance is the Compliance with U.S. Export Controls Laws policy.

Resources and Related Policies

Policy

This policy implements a governance framework over University activities that may be subject to U.S. Export Control Laws and regulations that oversee the export of certain commodities, software, and technology items and related non-fundamental or unpublished research and research results.

This policy is applicable to all Villanova University faculty, staff and students. This policy also applies to department chairs, academic deans, and all University administrators who have responsibility or oversight over research projects, service activities, and academic undertakings that are subject to U.S. Export Control Laws.

A Message from the Export Controls Advisory Committee

The University monitors its state of compliance readiness with export controls on a regular basis.  This is an area of law and regulation that is complex, and impacts diverse areas within the institution such as human resources, procurement, international student and scholars, information technology security, and research. Over the past two years, the Federal government has increased enforcement on export controls, conflicts of interest and commitment, and undue foreign influence as it relates to research activities. We want to make sure that the University continues on its trajectory to research growth and excellence. A key component to research excellence at Villanova is the development of collaborative international relationships and partnerships. Critical to the success of these endeavors is trust and transparency through adherence to established legal standards and University policies.  

There are several University Offices that can assist you with any questions you may have in these areas including the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, the University Compliance Office, and the Office of Grants and Contracts. 

Why?

Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, requires institutions that process U.S. federal student aid under Title IV, such as Villanova University, to submit to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) disclosure reports about gifts received from, or contracts entered with, a foreign source, and any ownership interests in, or control over the institution by a foreign source which are valued at $250,000 or more, alone or combined, in a calendar year.  While the HEA disclosure requirement has existed for many years, the DOE has not, until fairly recently, provided clear regulatory guidance. Recently, this section of the HEA has received renewed attention and enforcement in the Federal government’s attempt to gain a better understanding of the level and scope of foreign contributions and support to U.S. institutions of higher education.

If, as part of your job responsibilities, you are in the position to review, approve, receive, process, or record foreign gifts and contracts on behalf of the University, you are strongly encouraged to review the full policy. The University’s main policy for compliance with the HEA Section 117 requirements is the Reporting Foreign Gifts and Contracts policy.

Resources and Related Policies

Policy

Villanova University’s written policy formalizes the process that the University uses in order to internally collect, track, maintain, and disclose information regarding foreign gifts and contracts during the two reporting cycles which take place on January 31 and July 31 of each calendar year.  

A “foreign source” is defined as (A) a foreign government, including an agency of a foreign government; (B) a legal entity, governmental or otherwise, created solely under the laws of a foreign state or states; (C) an individual who is not a citizen or a national of the United States or a trust territory or protectorate thereof; and (D) an agent, including a subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign legal entity, acting on behalf of a foreign source.  

The University’s internal threshold for reporting on any gifts received from, or contracts entered into, with a foreign source, is $10,000.  Such reports need to be made to the Research Accounting Manager in the Controller’s Office by no later than thirty (30) days after receipt.  The Controller’s Office will provide, upon request, an electronic form that contains the data elements that must be collected for each such gift or contract.    

A Message from the Export Control Advisory Committee

During the past two years, we have seen increased investigation and enforcement by the Federal government and some of its sponsoring agencies in foreign gifts and contract reporting, export-controlled activities, conflicts of interest and commitment, and undue foreign influence.  The Federal government has set disclosure requirements that enable it to protect its research and development investments at institutions of higher education against misappropriation or misuse by a foreign government or entity without recourse or accountability. These requirements include disclosures around: financial interests, foreign gifts and contracts, foreign supported activity or research, and participation in foreign talent recruitment programs. 

There are several University Offices that can assist you with any questions you may have in these areas including the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, the University Compliance Office, and the Office of Grants and Contracts.

Why?

The University has a long-standing policy that applies to all employees which seeks to ensure that the University’s business is conducted with integrity, in compliance with applicable laws, and in a manner that excludes consideration of personal advantage.

Strict adherence to this policy protects the University and its employees from criticism, litigation or embarrassment that might result from alleged or real conflicts of interest or unethical practices.

Resources and Related Policies

The University has several policies and procedures addressing conflict of interest in addition to the Conflicts of Interest and Business Ethics policy:

  • Amended and Restated Policy Concerning Potential Conflicts of Interest describes the fiduciary responsibilities applicable to trustees and officers of the University and outlines the process to disclose potential conflicts of interests.
  • Faculty Handbook address potential conflicts of interest that faculty members may encounter in their duties to the University and provides an overview for how to avoid and manage them.
  • Financial Conflict of Interest in Research Policy requires the filing of annual disclosures of potential financial conflicts and the development and implementation of a management plan to reduce, manage or eliminate any such conflicts. This policy is applicable to all faculty and staff involved in research at the University.
  • Personal Relationships Policy sets forth the guidelines and prohibitions surrounding consensual employee-student relationships and employee relationships with subordinates.
  • Procurement Standards include disclosure requirements that are aimed at preventing conflicts of interest that may arise in vendor relationships.

Policy

The Conflicts of Interest and Business Ethics policy requires that employees disclose any situation which may involve a conflict of interest between the employees’ personal interests and the interests of the University. The policy highlights examples of interests that must be disclosed through the Vice President with jurisdiction over the division or unit and the University President, in consultation with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

The disclosures must be made in writing. Upon review, the employees’ ability to utilize University resources in light of such actual or potential conflict is subject to the approval of the University President and the appropriate Vice President.

A Message from the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel

“The University recognizes that a conflict of interest is not inherently unethical and that its employees are engaged in a variety of activities in their personal capacity. The Conflicts of Interest and Business Ethics policy describes the University’s expectations in those instances in which faculty members and staff are balancing their personal interests against those of the University. It is imperative that we all know that there are disclosure obligations to ensure that any conflict of interest is appropriately managed. This disclosure is critical to the protection and preservation of Villanova University’s values, reputation, and resources.”  

E. Michael Zubey, Jr., Vice President and General Counsel

Why?

Wagering on professional and collegiate sports in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been legal for individuals over 21 years of age since 2018 and has become increasingly accessible via online applications. Currently, the general public may lawfully place wagers on Villanova’s Division I sports teams in the Commonwealth, as well as in other states that allow gambling on college athletic events.

At Villanova, sustaining a culture based on ethical conduct is critical to upholding the University’s Augustinian mission and core values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas. Our culture and values often call faculty, staff and students to a higher standard than what the law requires.

Consistent with these values, Villanova’s Sports Wagering Restrictions policy aims to:

  • Maintain an athletic program that emphasizes the educational experience of our student-athletes;
  • Evidence our respect for our student-athletes by eliminating the potential that they may feel compromised, restricted, or inhibited in the pursuit of their educational activities; and
  • Minimize the potential of unlawful use of information that could influence the outcome of an athletic event.

Resources

Villanova University Student Handbook - Gambling

NCAA sports wagering rules

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Sports Wagering Regulations

Do you, or anyone you know, have a gambling problem?

Policy

The Villanova University Sports Wagering Restrictions policy applies to all students, faculty and staff. This policy also applies to any and all independent contractors who provide services to the Villanova University Department of Athletics, its athletic teams and student-athletes.

Villanova University faculty, staff and students, who are 21 years of age or older, are not permitted to wager on any athletic event (e.g., practice) or contest in which a Villanova University athletic team or student-athlete participates. Similarly, Villanova University faculty, staff and students may not knowingly disclose nonpublic information regarding its athletic teams or student-athletes for the purpose of influencing wagering activities.

Additional restrictions are applicable to ALL Villanova University Student-Athletes, Athletics Department Staff Members and Non-Athletics Department Staff Members who have responsibilities within or over the Athletics Department. Please refer to Sports Wagering Restrictions policy for additional guidance.

A Message from the Athletics Compliance Office

“This policy allows our student-athletes to live and train in an environment that is free from the pressures that sports wagering can place on them as individuals who are here to be educated and to compete to win championships.”

Katherine LeGrand, Assistant Athletics Director, Compliance

Why?

Web accessibility is the means by which web content is coded and designed that allows all individuals to use and consume information published on web pages. Accessibility of web content enables individuals with various levels of ability, including those with disabilities that may impact sight, movement, or cognition, to consume the same information. All University faculty members, staff and students who are involved in the procurement, preparation, and maintenance of University websites should ensure that the content they create and upload is accessible for all.

Resources

Villanova University, through UNIT and the Web Accessibility Work Group, continues to work toward building and sustaining an environment where all individuals who have access to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) are provided with adequate tools and understanding regarding web accessibility guidelines.  We require that all new and existing AEM users complete web accessibility training and encourage peer-to-peer learning through a common University listserv of AEM users.

Internal Resources

Learn@Nova Bridge Course Web Content Authoring for AccessibilityThis course is required to be completed by all AEM users by December 31, 2020. If this is not completed by the required timeframe, access to AEM will be revoked until the course is completed.

AEM Author Resources (Teams site)

Web Accessibility at Villanova

Content Author Accessibility Checklist

External Resources

WebAIM (includes WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool)

Document Accessibility Checkers

Policy

In accordance with applicable laws, University faculty, staff, and students who are responsible for Villanova web content must take steps to ensure that such content is accessible to all visitors, including individuals with disabilities. The Villanova University Web Accessibility policy establishes standards for content featured on the Villanova.edu website and other web content managed by or on behalf of the University, and requires accessibility of all new web content, except where doing so would impose an undue burden on or fundamental alteration of University programs or activities.

A Message from the Web Accessibility Work Group

“Providing equal access to Villanova’s programs and services for individuals with disabilities, including equal access to its website, is integral to the University’s identity as a Catholic, Augustinian institution. The University’s guiding principles of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas (truth, unity, and love) and mission of fostering an environment that supports individual differences insist that Villanova not only meet legal requirements, but take all steps necessary to ensure that every member of the Villanova community feels welcome and included in all aspects of University life. Accessibility is and will continue to be a core priority for Villanova.”

James Allsman, Assistant University Compliance Officer

Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer

Mark Hewlett, Assistant General Counsel

Leslie Sharp, Manager, Enterprise Web Application Development

Randy D. Weinstein, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Why?

If as part of your job responsibilities at Villanova you have the ability to access records that directly relate to an individual student, you should be familiar with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, or “FERPA”, also known as the Buckley Amendment. This Federal law protects the privacy of Villanova University students’ education records.

Under FERPA, education records are those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by the University or by a party acting for the University. Education records may appear in a variety of forms, including paper and electronic formats. The general rule to know is that absent an exception, information in an education record is private and cannot be released to anyone without the student’s prior written consent. The FERPA regulations do contain a number of very specific exceptions that permit Villanova to disclose student education records without the student’s prior written consent, many of which are described in Villanova's Disclosure of Student Records policy.  

FERPA also provides rights to our students to request access to their own education records and request an amendment of their education records.

Resources

Internal Resources

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – FERPA Basics Education Module I and Case Studies.  This program is offered by the Offices of the Vice President and General Counsel and University Compliance and provides you with the framework for understanding FERPA rights and obligations.  It includes case studies with examples of the application of FERPA in the academic and administrative work environments.

External Resources

Department of Education - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FAQs

FERPA Regulations, 34 CFR Part 99

FERPA General Guidance for Students

See Recent Guidance on:

FERPA & COVID-19 FAQs

FERPA and Virtual Learning

Policy

The Disclosure of Student Records policy implements Villanova University’s FERPA obligations and is required reading to better understand FERPA. The policy informs the reader of:

1) The categories of information Villanova deems to be directory information; as such, this information may be disclosed without the student’s prior written consent except that you need to make sure that the student has not “opted out” (in which case such information cannot be released);

2) What is deemed to be personally identifiable information (PII) and, therefore, confidential. PII means that the information may include the name of the student; the address of the student; a personal identifier such as social security number; or a list of personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable;

3) In what circumstances FERPA permits the disclosure of education records, or PII contained in the education records, without the prior written consent of the student; and

4) A description of the students’ rights under FERPA and the process to exercise these rights which include the right to request access to review and inspect their education records, and seek amendment if they believe their education record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights.

Upon review of the policy, if there are any questions or requests for more in-depth training regarding FERPA, please contact one of the Offices listed below. They are available to assist you with your questions and training needs:

Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (Contact: Mark Hewlett, Assistant General Counsel, mark.hewlett@villanova.edu)

University Compliance Office (Contact: Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer, leyda.benitez@villanova.edu).

Questions may also be submitted anonymously or confidentially through the ethics and compliance hotline, EthicsPoint, available 24/7 at:

  • villanova.ethicspoint.com or
  • toll free-number 1-866-236-1443.

 

Why

The Villanova Anti-Hazing policy defines hazing as any intentional, knowing, or reckless action or situation that, for purposes of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization, or as a condition for continued or enhanced membership in an organization:

  • Endangers the mental or physical health, safety, wellbeing, or dignity of an individual, or
  • Destroys or removes public or private property

Although there has been an increase in online remote learning, hazing can still occur in a virtual platform. A 2019 survey conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center noted that 36.5% of middle and high school students have been the victim of cyberbullying, and about 16% revealed that they had cyberbullied others. In addition, a study sponsored by the American Counseling Association, found that up to 22% of college students reported being bullied online and 38% of participants knew someone who had been bullied online.

Resources

The week of September 20th-25th is National Hazing Prevention week. Villanova students, faculty and staff should take the time to be aware of the signs of hazing in order to look out for our fellow community members. HazingPrevention.org identified several warning signs of hazing, including:

  • Sudden changes in behavior after joining an organization, club, or team
  • Desire to leave the organization, club, or team without giving any explanation
  • Weight-loss; exhaustion; or sudden changes in appetite, sleep habits, or appearance
  • Secrecy, avoidance, or stress surrounding new member activities
  • Unexplained injuries or illnesses
Reporting Resources at Villanova:
  • Reporting Resources at Villanova:
  • Public Safety Dispatch, 610-519-4444 (emergency 24/7) or 610-519-5800 (non-emergency 24/7)
  • 911 (for off-campus emergencies)
  • Any Resident Assistant/Residence Life Staff (24/7)
  • Dean of Students Office, 610-519-4200
  • Student Involvement, 610-519-4211
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life, 610-519-7280
  • Hazing Reporting Form
  • Villanova University Anonymous Reporting - EthicsPoint

Policy

Hazing can occur in a variety of groups and settings and it is the responsibility of every community member to speak up and prevent hazing. 

It is up to our entire University community to be part of the solution and help change the culture around hazing. The first step is to familiarize yourself with  the Villanova University policy prohibiting hazing, located in the Villanova Policy Library as well as the Student Handbook.

A Message from Villanova’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life

"As a Catholic, Augustinian University that insists that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of university life, we have no tolerance for hazing in our organizations. We will continue to educate our community to prevent hazing in all its forms and to live in compliance with our antihazing policies and state laws, but mainly to be aligned with our Augustinian Values of Truth, Unity and Love!"   -Fr. Bernie Scianna, Director of Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Villanova University

Access Links:

Villanova Policy Library - Public Access (VU Students & Adjunct Faculty) Select "Visit our Public Site"

Villanova Policy Library - Licensed Users (VU Staff & Full-Time Faculty)

Questions:

The Villanova Policy Library is an ongoing and continuous initiative. At this time the University Compliance Office (UCO) continues to work with departments/areas in the transition of their policies and procedures.

Questions regarding policies can be referred to either the UCO at 610-519-5466 or the person listed for that department/area in the Department/Area Contact List.